Rough-Legged Hawks may make an appearance in western mass each year ,either one day wonders or a bird or two seen during migration but most birders can go a few years without catching up to one. So when two different birds seemed content on hanging around for the last few days around South Maple Street and the Honey Pot....It was time to go. The Rough-Legged Hawk nests far to the north and west of New England and can start to show up in Massachusetts by the second week in October, but more likely to be encountered later into November.
The most I've ever had in one day in western Massachusetts was seven a few years back, also in Hadley. Historically there have been some amazing numbers here in the valley, but you have to go back to the 1870's and 1880's when Edward Damon prowled the meadows of Northampton and Hadley with his gun. During those years he would collect up to sixty Rough-legs a year. Some of these birds made it to a number of museums in the region. Below are a few photos of the two Rough-leggeds I caught up to today. Both birds appeared to be juveniles-lighter eyes and lack of solid tail band among other things. The other interesting bird of the day was a Clay-colored sparrow, a bird found by Ian Davies and Evan Dalton a few days earlier. After about an hour we finally located the sparrow. It really didn't provide me with any great photo opportunities, but was able to get reasonable looks.
|Rough-legged Hawk- Light morph. HoneyPot, Hadley.|
|Rough-legged Hawk- Light morph. So.Maple Street. (Not quite has cooperative as the honey Pot bird)|
|Rough-legged Hawk- So.Maple Street.|
|American Kestrel-male. Honey Pot|
|Clay-colored Sparrow (bottom bird-back shot) also horrible photo!|
|Merlin- honey Pot|
|Northern Cardinal- last week in the Honey Pot|
|American Tree Sparrow.|
|Savannah Sparrow- Honey Pot|